A video that shows Delhi Police officers beating students, who were protesting outside the RSS headquarters in Jhandewalan over Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula’s suicide, has sparked outrage in the capital.
The one-minute, nine-second video shot on January 30 shows police officers and men in civilian clothes beating up protesters and a police constable roughing up a woman demonstrator. Police commissioner B S Bassi said the matter is under investigation.
According to police, the two men in civilian clothes, who are seen assaulting protesters, were not part of the police force. “We have seen the footage and are trying to source more. The two men in civilian clothes are not part of Delhi Police,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Central) Parmaditya.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal alleged that Delhi Police was being used as a “private army”.
“Delhi police is being used by BJP/RSS as their private army to terrorise and teach anyone opposing the BJP/RSS a lesson. I strongly condemn the attack on students,” Kejriwal said on Twitter.
While the Congress called it a “brutal assault” by police on a group of “unarmed protesters” and demanded action against the policemen, the Delhi Commission for Women sent a notice to Delhi Police. Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Twitter, “Shocking attack on students. Instead of listening to them, now the Modi govt is brutally beating them up for protesting against the RSS!”
Two journalists, covering the January 30 protest, also alleged they were beaten up. Rahul M, a journalist working with Caravan Magazine, said, “I had gone to cover the protest. While the students were marching peacefully towards the RSS office, policemen starting beating them up.
One of the policemen — he appeared to be a sub-inspector — came to me, snatched my camera and banged it on the road. Some other policemen joined him and attacked me with sticks. I kept telling them I am a journalist but they kept beating me up.”
Here is what Rahul shared on his Facebook page
Rajiv Tuli, in-charge of the RSS media unit in Delhi, told PTI, “No RSS worker was there at the time. If somebody feels that there was some high-handedness, then there is the option of inquiry, law. Police must have done whatever they found was appropriate.”
Bassi said a probe has been ordered. “As soon as I was informed about the video, I spoke to Special Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Deepak Mishra, who later asked Joint Commissioner (Central range) S K Gautam to look into the matter. We will see if there was any indiscretion. We shall also talk to some of the eyewitnesses, apart from analysing the content of the video,” Bassi said.
DCW chief Swati Maliwal termed the video “disturbing”. The women’s body Monday sent a notice to the Delhi Police asking why no women personnel were present during the protest. “It is observed in the video that no female police personnel are present at the time of the incident and the male police personnel are beating up protesters and seem to be ‘supporting’ the men in civil clothes who are also beating up female protesters,” stated the notice.